Sci-fi novels can be at once groundbreaking and breathtaking as they take us on journeys that allow us glimpses of our future selves and the world(s) we know.
They can also be very dry and humorless reads, nearly devoid of emotion.
This is anything but the case in Eric Griffith's debut novel, Beta Test.
The author shatters the illusion of the dry-as-a-desert-planet sci-fi novel by crafting a fun, well-written plot that follows a group of mega-geeks led by one Sam Terra as he embarks on a quest to save the Universe as we know it. While not overtly a comedy, there are plenty of laughs to be had along the way, but make no mistake - this is very much a story for adults, and at the heart of the novel lurks a concept as intelligent as any you will find in the pages of traditional sci-fi reads.
As Sam and his pals uncover the mystery of The Vanished, Mr. Griffith sprinkles references to classic sci-fi movies and TV shows of the 70's and 80's throughout the book, and as if that isn't fun enough, the author makes clever use of footnotes - once the harbinger of universal reader boredom - to flesh out the characters in short, witty anecdotes, avoiding pages and pages of flashbacks. Or flash-forwards. And - since this is sci-fi - flash-sideways!
If you are a fan of traditional science fiction novels, and have a sense of humor, give this book a read. Is it groundbreaking? Probably not, but that's a term that's usually reserved for the serious books anyway. As for breathtaking - if that means big laughs, then yes!
If you're not a fan (like me) of traditional sci-fi novels, definitely give this book a read! The author will have you enjoying all that highly conceptualized sci-fi hoo-ha by using his razor-sharp wit - and a crotch-sniffing dog.